By Al Giovetti, 03/13/97
NASCAR Racing 2
Ahead of its time when released in 1995, the original NASCAR® Racing simulation sold over 800,000 units, was in the top 10 in PC Data for 11 months, and received numerous awards and recommendations: including Best Sports Program of 1995, SPA Codie Award, Best Simulation of 1995, PC Gamer, Best Sports Program of 1995, PC Gamer, Best Simulation of 1995, Computer Gaming World, Golden Triad Award, Computer Game Review
The game was and is fun to play and had almost no detractants and still looks good after two years on the market. NASCAR Racing 2 is a new updated version of the original classic title with new tracks, new drivers, new cars, and new features. The best new feature is the pit communications which helps you to keep up with track happenings and makes the game more strategic.
Company LineAs you round turn four and enter the dogleg at Talladega, you're pushing 200 MPH and it's 150 degrees inside your car. Behind you, Terry Labonte is inching closer and at this rate he'll take the air off your spoiler. As you speed through turn one you hear your spotter on the two-way: "Trouble in turn two. Stay low." Staying clear of the apron, you maneuver behind Dale Earnhardt and draft him for one more lap until you can slingshot past him in turn three leaving him and Labonte in the dust. This is racing... As real as it gets!!!
In driving simulators, there are several things that count: the number and interesting layout of tracks authentic or fantasy, statistics on drivers, teams, and tracks, licenses that insure that the statistics are correct and relate to the real world for authenticity, a customizable car with many features you can tweak to perfection, modes of play to give more game play value, a difficulty matrix of adjustable features to make the game easy enough for a novice and challenging enough for a grognard, and, the most important, a paint kit to customize your car to your own taste. And while NASCAR Racing 2 does not execute all these features to perfection, Papyrus comes close.
The game has the entire 1996 season statistics, with updated drivers, teams, and tracks. You can challenge Dale Earnhardt, Bobby Labonte and Mark Martin, as well as your favorite NASCAR® driver in a race for the 1996 championship in the Championship season mode of play. Each driver on the circuit has his own stats which you are free to adjust to make your opponents as good or as bad as you want. Adjusting the stats increases the challenge for excellent players and makes the game playable for novices.
Drive on 16 officially licensed tracks, including tracks like Sears Point, Watkins Glen, Charlotte or Talladega. All 16 NASCAR tracks are in the game. The tracks have been completely redone to reflect 1996 changes as well as greater realism. You see the highly detailed crowd, the painted advertisements on the outside wall, bleacher supports and many other details in star realistic three dimensional rendered models. The raceways are realistic in that the banks, curves, and straightaways are authentically modeled from the original tracks.
The new arcade mode is fun for both the novice or experienced player. With arcade you can jump right into NASCAR® Racing 2 without all the setup required for the Realistic Championship season mode. Wtih less details this allows you to get in a quick race when you have very little time to play and use the championship mode when you have the time. The cars are easier to drive in the arcade mode with less touchiness and handling realism than the championship mode. The game is easier to play so more fun for the novice.
The Garage has fully customizable car options: tune your car just like real NASCAR® mechanics. You can change weight distribution, tire pressure, and suspension parameters.
A paintkit allows you to fully customize your car's paint job with a full-featured paintkit with more features than the one found in the prequil. By painting the car in your own colors and designs the game develops a more personal feel. You identify with your car better and enjoy the game more.
You put yourself into the role of a real NASCAR driver winning races and competing against the best there is.
The game plays both in 640 x 480 pixel high resolution and 320 x 240 pixel low resolution. The game is better looking and really a standout in high resolution. The graphics are rendition ready so that you can take advantage of the smoother graphics if you have one of the Rendition ready video cards like the Reactor 3D.
AnimationIn order to take advantage of the beautiful Super VGA graphics and still get an acceptable frame rate you will need a high end Pentium and a rendition ready 3D card. Graphic detail is fully adjustable so that frame rate and graphics beauty and detail can be adjusted to get an acceptable mix.
Voice ActorsSpotter/Crew chief audio: You now can hear what is going on around the track. This feature gives the player better clues about on track events and happenings. It is wise to pay close attention to the advice from your spotter and crew chief. The advice and hints you gain here can help you win the game. "It may be the difference between failure and victory lane," says the Papyrus design team.
Music ScoreMusic is barely above average in this game.
Sound EffectsThe sound effects are about the same as most average sound effects.
UtilitiesThe Thrustmaster Grand Prix II and other peripherals are compatable, but must be configured with a tedious and difficult routine.
Multi-player FeaturesThegame supports 8 player network play. You can race against up to 7 of your friends over an IPX network. The game also supports two player null modem and Total Entertainment Network (TEN) internet play.
Cheats, Hints, WalkthroughBump the car infront on the side of his rear fender to spin him out of your way.
ReferencesDoug Radcliffe, Computer & Net Player, volume 3, number 10, March, 1997, pg. 71, 90%, CNP Preferred.
Shane Mooney, PC Games, volume 4, number 3, March, 1997, pg. 77, 95%.